Koganecho Bazaar 2011, Yokohama

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Apologies for the long hiatus! Things have been crazy-busy with classes, and blogging has kind of fallen by the wayside. I have a lot of catching up to do!

Back at the beginning of October, my language school arranged something called “Yokohama Day,” a chance for all of the students to explore the area. There were a number of different activities from which to choose. As part of the “art” course, I visited the Koganecho Bazaar, a collection of cute little art studios and exhibits nestled in a small neighborhood in Yokohama. As recently as 2004, the area was a center of prostitution and quite rundown, but the city and its citizens have worked together to turn it into a safe and vibrant place.

The installation in the picture above ended up being one of my favorites because it was so subtly worked into the river walk—I actually walked right by it without noticing it at first. It’s called “Ooka River” (大岡川) by Jun Honma. There were other parts to it, such as this fisherman installed on the river itself:

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The little studios scattered around the area housed a really wide variety of exhibits. Another of my favorites was “Cats with Red Shoes” (アカイクツヲハイタネコ) by Taisuke Abe, which was literally a room full of cats handsewn from various fabric scraps, each of which was (of course) wearing red shoes. He was actually there sewing more as we walked through the exhibit, which added to the atmosphere of the exhibit.

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Another set of interesting works depicted living and working conditions in the Meiji period. I believe that the artist was the late Sakubei Yamamoto (some English information available here). The piece below depicts conditions in Japanese coal mines of the time:

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Unfortunately, the Koganecho Bazaar ends tomorrow, so you don’t have a lot of time to see these particular exhibits. But it’s an annual event, so if you’re in the Yokohama area in the fall, it’s a pleasant way to spent a day walking around!

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